The Farnesian Itinerary

Some of the most important monuments situated in the province of Viterbo have a common characteristic, that is to have been built by the Farnese Family
The lilied coat of arms of this noble family, can be seen almost everywhere in the large centres and in the small places of fortification, once designed as a defence of the territory. 
The Farnesian itinerary starts at Viterbo where few architectural solutions linked to the Farnese are present. In fact in the capital of the province we can visit the 15th century Farnese Palace, famous for having accomodated the family of the future Pope Paul III. 
Going down the Strada Farnesiana, nowdays known as Via Cavour, created by Cardinal Alessandro we meet numerous gentilitial buildings such as Palazzo Brugiotti. From Viterbo we are guided towards the Cimino Hills and we reach Carbognano, whose medieval centre is dominated by the Castle in which Giulia la Bella, Pope Paul IIIrd's mother, used to lodge. Then on to Caprarola to admire the important, world-famous Farnesian monument: the great Farnese Palace, created by Alessandro, Paul IIIrd's nephew, by a project of Antonio da Sangallo; one of the most precious examples of Renaissance architecture. Nearby in Ronciglione we can meet the Farnese through the remains of a 14th cenutry stronghold, the so-called Torrioni, and also the valuable Fontana Dei Liocorni (xvi sec.). 
At Nepi there are numerous works of art of Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane to whom the Duke Pierluigi entrusted the task of creating the imposing Bastioni to defend the populated area. We return back towards Viterbo to reach Bolsena Lake. Both at Marta and Capodimonte there are Farnesian buildings, but the most important evidence of the Farnese is on the Bisentina Island. In fact in the centre of the lake Cardinal Alessandro had the Church of Ss. Giacomo e Cristoforo built, that holds the remains of Ranuccio Iii, one of the more powerful creators of the Farnese, together with a few works of art of Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane.

Following the coastline we first come to Valentano where there is an important wellpreserved Farnese Stronghold. Then on to Gradoli (farnese Palace), Latera, Cellere, Farnese (probably native town of the family), Canino and Ischia di Castro. We are in the heart of which for over a century was the prestigious Duchy of Castro. It is here that the Farnesian itinerary finishes, near the Lamone Forest, where the capital of the Duchy was once situated; the splendid town of Castro was destroyed in 1649 by the will of Pope Innocenzo X Pamphili. 
Of the refined renaissance habitat, the construction of which involved a large part of the best designers of the period, remains the odd ruin and a few findings that can be seen in the various town museums in the area.


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